Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 15:3-19

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Luke 15:3

parable. See note on 8:1.

Luke 15:4

Shepherding was a common practice in the agrarian society of Israel. The imagery of shepherding was also a common Old Testament theme for spiritual leaders over Israel (Jer. 3:15; Ezek. 34:2-10), including God (Ps. 23:1; Isa. 40:11). the lost. The recovery of the lost sheep is more important than tending the others who are safe. Unlike the neglectful shepherds of Israel, Jesus seeks after the lost (19:10; Ezek. 34:4, 11, 16).

Luke 15:5

Like the shepherd with his sheep, Jesus deals tenderly with sinners (Isa. 40:11; Matt. 11:28; 12:20).

Luke 15:6

The shepherd's celebration was a community event (v. 9). Likewise, the Pharisees and scribes (v. 2) should have joined in the celebration of sinners being saved.

Luke 15:7

An application of the first part of the parable (vv. 3-6). heaven. Another way of saying God and his angels (v. 10). ninety-nine. Jesus pointed out the irony of the situation. There would be no rejoicing over the religious leaders who didn't see the need to repent (5:31-32; 18:11-12). However, there would be much rejoicing over the worst sinner being saved.

Luke 15:8

silver coin. A drachma, perhaps about the same as a denarius, which was the day-wage for the average worker (20:24; Matt. 20:2). seek diligently. The stone or mud brick homes of the time left many homes with little light. Together with an earthen floor, finding the coin may have been hard work. Nevertheless, the coin was valuable to the woman and worth the effort.

Luke 15:9

Similar to the shepherd (see note on v. 6).

Luke 15:10

An application of the parable's second part. joy. See note on v. 7.

Luke 15:12

portion of the wealth. That which the sons would have inherited. The son's request was shockingly disrespectful. It implied that he wished the father's death so he could receive his inheritance (Num. 27:8-11). The younger son loved wealth more than his father. divided. The father had every right to refuse the son's shameful request. However, he complied. As the younger son, he would have received half of the older sons' inheritance (Deut. 21:17). Perhaps less if the father had daughters in need of dowries.

Luke 15:13

gathered together. The young man converted his inheritance to cash so he could more easily spend it. far away. A sign of the son's alienation from his father and upbringing. wasted. The fortune was spent on sinful living.

Luke 15:14-15

The son's situation worsened. He was away from home, without money or friends, and was forced to work. Yet, even the work he gained was with animals considered unclean by the Law (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8).

Luke 15:16

The young man makes so little at his job that he cannot even afford to buy food for himself. carob pods. Likely seed pods or fruit from a local carob tree which was often used as fodder for pigs and donkeys. For a Jew, longing for pig food signaled the ruination of the man's life (see note on vv. 14-15).

Luke 15:17-19

See WLC 76, 185.

Luke 15:17

In contrast to the situation he is in, the son remembered how generous his father was with his servants.

Luke 15:18-19

The son wanted to confess his sin to his father in two ways. First, he wanted to repent and acknowledge that his sin against God in heaven and his father. Second, he wanted to ask for mercy. He didn't seek the restoration of his place in the family, but simply to be hired as a servant. He knew that even as a servant, he would be treated well (v. 17). heaven . . . your sight. The order is significant. All sin is primarily against God before anyone else (Ps. 51:4). This was true for the son's disrespect of his father (Exod. 20:12).

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